Unemployment increases for fifth month in a row to 3.8%

A woman carrying a box of items away from her desk in an office
Unemployment has been rising for three months. Photo: Depositphotos
A woman carrying a box of items away from her desk in an office
Unemployment is back at pre-pandemic levels. Photo: Depositphotos

Unemployment has risen for the fifth month in a row, with 3.8% of the workforce out of a job.

Another 3.3 million are either unavailable or not looking for work, according to the latest monthly update by statistics agency CBS.

In April unemployment fell to a record low level of 316,000, or 3.3% of potential workers, but has since climbed to 382,000, equivalent to the number just before the coronavirus lockdown and at the end of 2021.

The CBS also said the decline in the number of people receiving out-of-work benefits (WW) has ground to a halt, with 152,000 claimants in September, the same number as in August.

However, the growing number of job seekers will not relieve the shortage of personnel in many sectors in the short term, as sickness absence is also increasing.

Figures complied by employment agency Arboned found that 4.3% of workers were absent through illness in September, a 0.3% increase since August.

Mental health absence

The rise is in line with seasonal trends as flu and coronavirus infections increase, but Arboned said it had also seen a rise in absence on grounds of mental health.

Sickness levels are highest in education, healthcare and public administration, where 5.7% of staff are currently off work.

Redmer van Wijngaarden, director of medical affairs at Arboned, said: ‘We are seeing that absence through mental health has been gradually increasing for a long time and still accounts for a large proportion within companies.

‘It often has a greater impact because people are away from the workplace for longer.’

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